Sunday, 14 February 2010

If only he were.......!

Mixed reviews, some rather bitchy. Tom Ford directs like a fashion shoot and the result is.......absolutely fabulous! The photography is to die for. Shigeru Umebayashi /  Abel Korzeniowski soundtrack gels perfectly. Colin Firth does restraint to perfection and is an inspired casting. Julieanne is not a favourite of mine but I could not fault her. Isherwood's novel lives on screen, I believe as he intended, as he lived it. Blatant sex scenes have been sacrificed for a wider audience appeal? I don't think so. This is heartwreck exemplified. Why whinge because Ford has come up with an entrancing cinematic debut? Sour grapes I reckon. Don't miss!

Books: Strange but it rings true - The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw, vivid and poetic.
Incendiary by Chris Cleave - each page had me on the brink of tears but it is unputdownable.
Two books that demonstrate the freshness of a first novel teamed with the competence that makes you hope for even greater things to come.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Swan Lake

A real treat on Tuesday night - Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake is on tour, first stop Milton Keynes. It was enthralling. Often at the theatre I have to satisfy myself with the costumes, the set or even the orchestra but it was the dance that held me rapt for over two hours. The choreography, and it has to be said the costumes, were perfect. A packed audience, mostly of women, aged nine to ninety agreed. If you get the chance it is not to be missed. Click on the title for a brief taste. Or read this in The Guardian.

tangerine trees and marmalade skies

When the weather is gloomy and camp fever is beginning to take hold I turn in desperation to jam making. I had not tried marmalade before but we seem to be eating increasing quantities so with seville oranges glowing on the supermarket shelves I resolved to change all that. And my reward was unexpected...
First I did my research on the net. Well actually first I impulsively bought the oranges and then I looked at them for a week until the quality threatened to deteriorate when I was spurred into action. There are recipes that involve slicing, simmering whole and everything in between. I chose in between and quartered them - a bag of sevilles, a lemon and a lime. I peeled some peel off about half of them and sliced it into ribbonsbecause I wanted it fine and added to a big pan and 2 litres of water. Then I brought it to the boil before gently simmering for about 3 hours with a lid on. After an hour or two the smell was glorious, aromatic and spicy. I turned off the heat and went to bed. The next day I was busy so I just brought it to the boil again and turned it off. By this time the whole house was deeply, gorgeously scented. Maybe it was the following day that I squeezed the juice and flesh out of the fruits in my hand, threw away the rinds and strained through muslin. I retrieved peel and added to the liquid and warmed it up while warming a kilo and a half of sugar in the oven. Stirred it in, brought to the boil for ten minutes and hoopla! marmalade ready to pot. So now I have six jars of marmalade and wonderfully scented cook's memories. Will I enter it in the village show next Saturday?